Exciting galloper Amarelinha bounced back to her very best after suffering a narrow defeat at her most recent start, when she captured the Group 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa.
Trained by Jamie Richards for the Te Akau Hopskip’n’jump Syndicate, Amarelinha was sent out a -250 favourite for the contest as punters believed she was a margin above her rivals after being beaten narrowly by Aegon in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie last month.
Back up against her own sex, the Savabeel filly looked to have a class edge on the field and so it proved despite some hairy moments in the home straight as rider Danielle Johnson tried to extricate her from a tight position behind the tiring pacemaker.
Johnson had given her mount an armchair passage throughout the early stages of the race, sitting relaxed in the trail behind Needle And Thread.
Johnson tried to push her way out at the at 300m but was caught for several strides as Sweet Anna kept her boxed in, but once she found clear air at the 150m Amarelinha did the rest as she burst past her rivals to win by four lengths from the fast-finishing Slave To Love.
“I just needed to bide my time a little as Leith (Innes) on Sweet Anna is not one you can just push out of the way,” Johnson said. “She has just brained them and was just too good.
“Her work prior to today was excellent and I knew she would run well on that.”
Richards believes the $300,000 that David Ellis CNZM paid for Amarelinha when he purchased her out of the Waikato Stud draft at the 2019 Book 1 sale at Karaka is looking a real bargain as he gets excited about her future prospects.
“She is a really exciting filly and one we have held in high regard right from the time that David bought her at Karaka,” he said. “She reminded us a lot of Probabeel and we didn’t race her as a two-year-old, mainly due to copping COVID-19 at the back end of the season.
“She has more than made up for that this time in, as that was a pretty exciting win.”
Amarelinha is nominated for the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m), where she is currently a -125 Fixed Odds favourite, but Richards is undecided whether that is where she will be heading despite a desire to win the race and match Te Akau’s now Singapore-based trainer Mark Walker, who won the race in 2007 with Princess Coup.
“We’ll have a team talk (about the Oaks),” Richards said. “Mark has won an Oaks, but I haven’t so there is plenty to think about there, so I imagine our Monday team talk will be a little bit longer than usual.”
The victory was Amarelinha’s second at Group Two level having taken out the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, with the filly now having won three of her 5 starts and over $264,000 in prizemoney.
The win also moves Amarelinha to the head of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year table with 16 points, one more than stablemate Kahma Lass who is currently campaigning in Australia.